September 15, 2007

Least Religious Candidates Lead Pack

Surveys reveal that most voters would not vote for an atheist presidential candidate. However, this does not mean that they are seeking a particularly religious one either. New data reveal that the candidates perceived by voters as the least religious also happen to be those leading the polls.

According to USA Today,
"The candidates viewed by voters as the least religious among the leading contenders are the current frontrunners for the Democratic and Republican nominations," the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports today.
The leading candidates for both parties, Clinton and Giuliani happen to be those perceived as the least religious.

I would interpret these findings as suggesting that voters want a candidate to meet a particular threshold of religiosity but that once the candidate has done so, increasing religiosity becomes far less important. An atheist is not an acceptable candidate because he or she would fail to meet this threshold. But at the same time, voters do not appear assign increasing value to increasing degrees of religiosity.

The truly fascinating thing is that Clinton's campaign apparently still thinks that they need to broadcast their candidate's religiosity.
The Associated Press reports that Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said "there are many things about Senator Clinton that people don't know and one of those things is that she is a person of faith."
As long as she can stay above the threshold required by voters, it is unlikely that she has much to gain by flaunting her belief in things that lack evidence.

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